Tag Archives: Malta

MALTA TO SARDINIA

We departed Malta at 0630 with our friend Karolina on board. As we departed the harbor I prepared breakfast which we enjoyed while sailing along the coast of Malta. The 10 hour sail to Sicily proved to be a bit more choppy and tough than the forecast so the first sail of this season gave all three of us some minor sea sickness symptoms, even Roland after 45 years of no seasickness. Arriving Ragusa Marina, a walk to the local village and a late afternoon coffee and Sicilian delight was the perfect cure!

With unstable weather we slowly made our way up the south coast. One stop was at San Leone Marina where we quickly grabbed a taxi to take us to the Greek “Valley of the Temples” in Agrigento before sunset. The breath taking Doric temples were built approximately 400BC dedicated to Zeus, Heracles, Concord and Hera. For me, this was one of the most impressive and spectacular sites we have seen in our travels.tempel-1tempel-1-2

Next day we pushed on to Trapani on the west coast where Karolina would fly back to Malta. Roland was ill with a virus that I had earlier so he stayed with the boat while we explored Erice. Roland and I had visited this two years ago and enjoyed it so I wanted Karolina to see this small village perched high on a mountain top. We reached the medieval village via cable cars. ERICE

This walled in village has many churches, narrow cobblestone walkways, and stone houses with interesting doors. Hand crafted ceramics and hand made woven rugs are prominent for this village. We dined for lunch in a old stone house where we tried the speciality of this area, Cuscus Pesce with a fish stock. By the way, the cuscus is hand made. We were told we must try a very special pasty made in Erice called “Genovese”. This pastry is filled with either ricotta cheese or a vanilla cream. Incredible! We could not of picked a better day weather wise. Nice temperature, no wind and sunshine.ERICE (1)
The next day we toured the streets of Trapani before Karolina had to leave for the airport.

We departed for our 24 hour passage to Sardinia. As the sunset we were sailing comfortably and having dinner. On a short passage we take 3 hour watches so I took the midnight to 3 and Roland 3 to 6. It was a very dark night with thin clouds and only patches of stars until about 1am when the bright moon broke through the clouds. It makes such a big difference sailing in a moonlit sea.
We had dolphins with us for most of the trip, some playing in the wake of the boat for hours. The faster we sail the more playful they become. Dolphins are very calming for me. When I am feeling anxious about sea conditions and dolphins arrive, I immediately know all is ok. When I awoke at 0600 to relieve Roland from his watch, there were many dolphins so I enjoyed my cup of tea, listening to music, the sun breaking through the clouds and entertained by all the many dolphins. Bella Luna was sailing 8.5 knots so they were very energetic. Not many times you start the day in such spender.

BELLA IS A FLOAT

The start of the season was a little bit later than normal.  When we got down to Malta we had two days to get the boat ready for the launch.

On Tuesday she went in the water at the Manoel Island Boat yard on Malta. 

We motored over to Msida marina and tied up at the guest slips on the inside of the breakwater. It was a long list of things to do and we had no problem filling the week.

Just across the street we did find a little chandlery, White Sails.  On the wall they had a Yanmar sign.  I asked them if they had time to change the hoses and the antifreeze?

Next day Daniel shoved up and did the work.  Daniel is one of those guys who you can trust.  He managed to change all the hoses and the antifreeze without creating a mess in the engine room.

Msida

Next door to White Sails we did find Yacht Café.  Yacht Cafe is open between 9-3 and serve breakfast and lunches.  Maria and Sergio are the owners and they will make you feel at home. The food is inspired by the middle east cusine.  Wonderful meals we had there.  Do not miss to visit Yacht Cafe if you are in Malta.Yachtcafe

We experienced a rare occurrence.  It started early morning when we noticed the gangway was first hitting the concrete pier and then a minute later it would be 1.0 meters above the pier.   The water level changed 0.5 to 1 meters for at least an hour.  A very strong current carried garbage in and out.   The road at the end of the bay was under water for a short time.    Vickie referred to this as the “Malta Tsunami”.    Local reports say this was caused by waves and currents that hit Sicily and bounced back to Malta which has a shallower seabed than Sicily.

We could get no further information on this technically other than the old timers say there are many atmospheric changes that has caused this several times over the many years.    It is a fact that Malta has had some very unusual weather the last 3 weeks, not typical for this time period.

At the end of the week Anton Cachia from Action Sails came with our sails.  He had done service on all our sails. Anton is one of those rare types that actually shows up on time and has done exactly what you agreed on.  If you have any sail or canvas work we can highly recommend Anton.

Sails are up and we are ready to go cruising!

 

MALTA

Returning to Malta feels like our third home. Everything is familiar offering a lot of variety in the grocery stores, restaurants, marine chandlery and hardware stores galore!

First on the agenda was the celebration of our friend Seiji’s 81st birthday and three nights of dining is some fabulous restaurants. The second night there were 12 of us seated a rooftop terrace in the ancient city of Mdina enjoying Arabic cuisine as the Super Moon rose above the walls of the citadel. A truly magical evening!

Birthday party at Royal Malta Yacht Club

Birthday party at Royal Malta Yacht Club

Our good friends, John and Amanda, left Seattle in March 2015 and sailed down the west coast of the USA, through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, across the Atlantic to the Azores, up to Scotland and finally crossing to Sweden in late September on their Hallberg-Rassy 46, Mahina Tiare. 

John & Amanda

John & Amanda

They decided to take a flight from Sweden to Malta for a visit and to see
a small part of the Mediterranean. In-between sight seeing, sailing, swimming, bicycling, hiking, and jogging they helped me with varnish. Amanda gave Roland some pointers on going up the mast, which is a task he never looks forward to. So while he is inspecting the first spreader, he hears a noise and looks around to see Amanda sitting on the opposite spreader. She had just free climbed up the stays as John was making monkey noises from the cockpit. It was a busy week and so wonderful to spend time with them.

Roland & Amanda

Roland & Amanda

The next day Bella Luna came out of the water at 0730 at Manoel Island Yacht Yard.

Art and Karen arrived from Fort Lauderdale. They use to own a Hallberg-Rassy 46 and later a HR54 and had spent a lot of time in Malta so came for a short visit and to spend time in one of their favorite places.

Bella Luna now has her winter cover on which ends our cruising for this season. Our return to Sweden was chilly at 5c.

Bella ready for the winter

Bella ready for the winter